The embattled Railway Minister, Dinesh Trivedi, agreed to resign on Sunday evening, four days after he presented the Railway budget that angered his leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
“She [Mamata Banerjee] spoke to me. The Trinamool Congress wants me to resign,” Mr. Trivedi told journalists. “I told her [that] I will abide by the party's [decision] and resign.”
Sources in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), however, said no resignation letter was received from Mr. Trivedi.
Mr. Trivedi succumbed to pressure from the party after he had a telephone conversation with Ms. Banerjee on Sunday. “Dinesh Trivedi called in,” she told journalists in Kolkata, stressing: “He will resign. And he will stay in the party.”
Ms. Banerjee also said she was flying to New Delhi on Sunday night. She will preside over a meeting of the Trinamool Parliamentary Party scheduled for Monday afternoon.
While Ms. Banerjee is determined to see that her nominee for the Railway Minister, Mukul Roy, replies to the debate on the budget, it is not yet clear whether the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government will agree to that.
No RS deal
Meanwhile, the attempt to strike a deal on the Rajya Sabha seats between the Congress and the Trinamool has failed. Shakeel Ahmed, Congress leader in charge of West Bengal, who met Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday, confirmed that the party had decided to field Abdul Mannan for a seat from the State. “R.C. Khuntia will be flying to Kolkata to oversee the nomination process for Abdul Mannan.”
The nomination of Mr. Mannan will make it difficult for the Trinamool to get its fourth candidate, Vivek Gupta, through. After getting three candidates through, the 185 MLA-strong Trinamool will have just 35 votes left for its fourth candidate; it would require another 15 to win the fourth seat, and it was hoping for support from the Congress, which has 43 MLAs (one of whom is an Independent), and the four-member Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.